5 days ago, I did something to hurt my back (I sat, then I got up–foolish, huh?). Since then my back has been hurting more than anytime I can remember. At times, the pain is so great I literally have problems breathing. I am doing all the things one should do at a time like this, including prayer.
But what prayer? The first thing we tend to pray in pain is “Lord, stop this!”. We want the pain to end, we want to be free to be able to do things in our life without pain. But this week a strange thing has been happening in my head. I’ve been asking myself, “Is God’s agenda really for me to be pain free?”.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe God *wants* me to hurt. But what does he want? The scripture makes it clear that God’s agenda is long-term–that I become more like Jesus. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Heb. 12:11).
So, how do I pray? What do I seek in the midst of pain? Instead of asking God to take this pain away, I’ve been asking him to teach me, train me, let me learn patience and reliance on him. Give me humility as I’m limited in what I can do, and endurance as I function in pain. Do anything in me that needs to be done to produce that harvest of righteousness and peace”.
It’s not an easy prayer, and I can’t say it comes naturally. But I am learning, slowly but surely, that God is more interested in my growth than my comfort. So, I will pray these things. And, Lord, if the pain ends soon, that would be good too.